Playing devil's advocate here, TechCrunch's arguments about how stories get posted are actually valid, to a degree. The fact of the matter is, journalist's themselves steal and write about information everyday. Journalists of all calibers in pretty much all lines of journalism that have any sort of investigative aspect will either seek out sources or obtain the information themselves. Insider information is every bit as stolen as hacked, especially when reporting on things like publicly traded companies and the like, or leaking information beyond a confidentiality contract. The fact that the information may be in the public interest does not negate the fact that it is stolen. Now, that doesn't mean the information should or should not be posted, only that the method of obtaining and reporting information seems to be sound — except for the following:

What most news organizations do is they collect their information, log their sources and weigh the trust they can have in the information provided by their source — and then they protect the that source and report on the information. I am pretty sure (but not positive as I am not American) that in most cases, they are not legally required to disclose their source — but they may be able to be subpoenaed for the information in specific circumstances, you guys tell me… In any case, the fact remains that the information would be reported without sensationalism, and only as a part of the overall article. Generally, there would be no hype about how the publisher obtained the information, at least not until -after- the story is broken. It would simply have been “information from a reliable source” or “information received by TechCrunch”, there would be no articles disclaiming what the publisher is “about to do”. The only reason to do that is to attempt to let the world know that you were not the one to steal the information and you have no part of it, and to cause a sensationalist and worldwide dialogue that will increase your popularity by notoriety — which is what they did.

All this aside, I do agree that, should you come into possession of stolen property, you should report it to the authorities and the party that it was stolen from, if possible. I also am pretty sure that in today's world digital information is protected by law, especially in the case of intellectual property and privacy. Your FBI apparently reeeally frowns on hacking. But the question is an ambiguous one to answer from a legal perspective due to the fact that there are many loopholes that will allow this sort of thing to take place. That being said, there are also potential loopholes in those loopholes that will allow a good lawyer to sway a court and/or jury in the other direction. Fallout from that could provide precedent at a later date, however, for companies or the government to -legally- squash, or at least delay, stories that may or may not be deemed in the public interest, depending on potential court proceedings as to how the information was obtained.

Fun, huh?